A new report by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz for the Roosevelt Institute suggests that paying our fair share of taxes and cracking down on corporate tax dodgers could be a cure for inequality and a faltering economy.
This week on Moyers & Company, Stiglitz tells Bill that Apple, Google, GE and a host of other Fortune 500 companies are creating what amounts to “an unlimited IRA for corporations,” some of them paying no taxes whatsoever. The result? Vast amounts of lost revenue for our treasury and the exporting of much-needed jobs to other countries.
“I think we can use our tax system to create a better society, to be an expression of our true values.” Stiglitz says. “But if people don’t think that their tax system is fair, they’re not going to want to contribute. It’s going to be difficult to get them to pay. And, unfortunately, right now, our tax system is neither fair nor efficient.”
Stiglitz continues, “We have a tax system that reflects not the interest of the middle. We have a tax system that reflects the interest of the one percent… What I want to do is create a tax system that has incentives to create jobs. And if you tell a corporation, ‘Look, if you don’t create jobs, you’re taking out of our system, you’re not putting anything back, you’re going to pay a high tax. But if you put back into our system by investing, then you can get your tax rate down.’ That seems to me common sense, particularly in a time like today, when 20 million Americans need a full-time job and can’t get one.”
Stiglitz’s best-selling books, including The Price of Inequality, The Trillion Dollar War and Freefall have shaped worldwide debates on globalization, income inequality and the role of government in the financial marketplace. He is currently a professor at Columbia University, a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and president of the International Economic Association. Stiglitz served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton, and as chief economist of the World Bank.
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